Oxford

Jack Lester's lockdown garden gig a hit for the NHS

Jack Lester Image copyright Jack Lester
Image caption Jack Lester is used to playing small pub gigs in Oxfordshire

A musician has raised more than £3,000 for the NHS after live streaming a gig from his garden.

Jack Lester, 29, of Kingston Bagpuize, Oxfordshire, decided to perform concerts online after his gigs were cancelled because of coronavirus.

"I didn't expect it to be so popular," he told the BBC. "I play in local pubs around here but they're small pubs."

At his latest gig he took song requests from his new online fans on a stream that had about 6,000 views.

"I've done charity cycle rides and stuff but I've never done anything of this magnitude," he said of the performance, which lasted almost two hours.

Image copyright Jack Lester
Image caption Lester took song requests from his new online fans and played for two hours

The idea grew out of an original concept to broadcast an unannounced gig from his living room.

That performance, which took place shortly after strict new measures were brought in to fight the coronavirus pandemic, was an unexpected hit.

"It was a case of trying to do something to entertain people at first," Mr Lester explained.

"We had so many people on the stream we thought we could raise some money for the NHS during this period."

Next came a "proper gig with a banner and a PA system at the bottom of the garden" which "seemed to go through the roof", he said.

The show, which was promoted in advance this time, saw the donations pass £3,000.

Lester said his neighbours had "started poking their heads over the fence and clapping after each song".

"I've also had unbelievable messages from people, some who have been struggling with isolation - it gives them something to look forward to."

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